Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Metropolitan Kallistos—or at least to Timothy Ware. I read his book The Orthodox Church long ago and it was an important part of my conversion to Orthodoxy. I still have the somewhat battered volume on my bookshelf, a gold bishop’s mitre on the cover set off against a black background. That was before Timothy became Kallistos and parenthesized his surname, and I have followed…

Selling Genesis

It has been somewhat forcibly brought to my attention lately that there are a number of ways of reading the early chapters of the Book of Genesis. One way is to acknowledge the presence of non-literal elements in those chapters and even to flirt with the “m-word” (i.e. “mythological”) but at the end of the exegetical day to insist upon an historical reading of it. On this reading, all of humanity came…

Christian Zionism

During my time in the Jesus People as an Evangelical Charismatic Protestant, it was taken for granted that the modern State of Israel, established by the Great Powers in 1948, was the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and a sign of the End Times.   How clever, Biblically-discerning, and prescient we were may be gauged by the fact that we also took it for granted that the Rapture would happen any day and that…

Sola Scriptura

Most Evangelical Protestants do not have a great love for Latin (people of my vintage can remember when Latin was inevitably associated in Evangelical minds with the horrible benighted Catholics, who used Latin as their liturgical language), but there are two Latin words very close to their hearts: “sola Scriptura”, which is Latin for “Scripture alone”. Those dipping a little into Reformation history will recall that it shared the stage with a…

Learning from the Council of Nicea

The Council of Nicea ended a long time ago (in 325) and Arius is very, very dead. Why do we still make such a big deal about the Council and commemorate it at such an important time—i.e. right after Pascha and before Pentecost? There are no more Arians threatening our Orthodoxy. Admittedly the Jehovah’s Witnesses are still knocking on doors and being generally annoying, and the refined Unitarians are still working for…

Eternal Security

The first knock-down drag-out theological scrap I ever had was in high school and it was over the doctrine of Eternal Security. I was not keen to have the scrap because the person I was contending with was a spectacularly pretty girl to whom I was greatly attracted, but I knew that truth trumped hormones. Not by much, mind you, but enough for me to defend what I thought was the truth…